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Open Packet, Add Water, Microwave for 4 minutes, Stir:  A Wine Education in 28 Days

Is it possible to get a wine education in 28 days as Food & Wine magazine suggests in this article from the current February 2007 issue?
Surely, they’re having fun with it, so I won’t take them to task for the absurdity of the notion. 

The article lists actions and activities to engage in over the course of February’s 28 days that will take you from zero to sixty in wine education.  And the cost?  By my calculator, including some spot airfare to NY and a $2000 budget for a Sonoma trip, it will only set you back $4042 dollars—a relative bargain considering how much more expensive it could be to spend a lifetime accumulating such knowledge.  Of course, most of these wines won’t be available in your geography and shipping costs will add at least another 1/3 of total cost if you want to follow their regimen.

But, if you were going to ask my opinion, I’d suggest taking the Oxford Companion to Wine and reading its 840 pages at a 30 page a day clip over the course of the 28 days while drinking two mixed cases from your local wine shop with the best VALUE wines from all major areas at the best value price point—you could probably do that for $250 a case.  And, after buying the Oxford Companion to Wine off of (used) for $35 bucks you’ll be $3407 ahead of the game and can then start a cellar with the savings. 

It makes no sense to me to start out with the best expressions of a varietal to baseline. Most of the fun in wine is letting your palate develop so that a Chateauneuf du Pape can knock your socks off later on down the road.  The Food & Wine method is like losing your virginity and then having a greek orgy.  Take it slow, my friends.  Queue up Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” or Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” and ease into it by drinking inexpensive representatives of their region before blowing your wad, metaphorically, on $70 Pinot Noir.

Herewith, the list of wines from the magazine for kicks:

Day 1:  1996 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne ($140)

Day 2:  Canyon Cellars Shadow Canyon Vineyard Syrah ($40)

Day 3:  Angelo Ganja 2004 Promis ($38)

Day 4:  2002 Montagia Cabernet Sauvignon ($80)

Day 5:  2004 Louis Michel Chablis Montée de Tonnerre ($42); 2004 Concha y Toro Amelia ($35)

Day 6: Taste a 2003 Bordeaux from the 2003 vintage Robert M. Parker, Jr., at New York’s Executive Wine Seminars. $670 + airfare $250

Day 7: 2005 Guilhem Durand Syrah ($12)

Day 8: 2004 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec ($16)

Day 9: 1994 Foxen Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($70)

Day 10: Flat Creek Estate, 2004 Super-Texan Sangiovese ($20).

Day 11: 2005 Charles Joguet Chinon Cuvée Terroir ($17).

Day 12:  2005 Bodegas Nekeas Vega Sindoa, a blend of Tempranillo and Merlot ($7).

Day 13:  2005 Rudera Chenin Blanc ($22)

Day 14: 2003 Aalto ($60)

Day 15:  2004 Nalle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($30)

Day 16: 2005 Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer ($17)

Day 17:  Plan a wine-country weekend to Sonoma County this spring ($2000)

Day 18: 2001 Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino ($65).

Day 19: 2005 Patient Cottat Sancerre ($25); Roederer Estate NV Brut sparkling wine ($24); 2005 Elk Cove Pinot Gris ($18).

Day 20: 2004 J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett ($25)

Day 21: 2002 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($27)

Day 22: 2005 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc ($22)

Day 23: Inniskillin’s 2005 Vidal Ice Wine ($60 for a half bottle)

Day 24: 2000 Cuvée des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre Gewürztraminer ($38)

Day 25: fruity 2005 Sofia Rosé ($15)

Day 26: 2004 Domaine Tempier Bandol ($32)

Day 27: Baron Philippe de Rothschild with a glass of his 2003 Château d’Armailhac $35

Day 28: 1996 Château Léoville-Barton $90

Grand Total



Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (1) |


On 01/14, Tim Elliott wrote:

Ridiculous. There is no wine education in my book without Pax Syrah and Loring Pinot included. I didn’t notice any Barolo or Penfold’s Grange, either.

Your approach makes a lot more sense, Jeff, but I might buy a new copy of the Oxford Companion to Wine wink


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